Quoted: A Potential Pioneer, Just Looking for a Job

Alan Gendreau would seem an unlikely pioneer. He is a former kicker for Middle Tennessee State, the leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history, a little-known 23-year-old who wants a shot at the N.F.L.

Alan Gendreau, a free-agent kicker from Middle Tennessee State, could become the N.F.L.’s first openly gay player.

Middle Tennessee State’s Alan Gendreau (38) after his kick beat Maryland in 2009. He is trying to land a tryout with an N.F.L. team.

And he is gay.

Recent attention on the sooner-or-later milestone of an openly gay male athlete in a major American team sport has been spurred by a presumption: that the first will be a current professional athlete.

But those who have long tracked the issue have thought the more likely situation would involve an already-out athlete climbing through the college ranks to reach the N.F.L., N.B.A., N.H.L. or Major League Baseball. They thought it would be someone like Gendreau. And it might be, if and when he can secure an invitation to try out for a team in the coming months. Gendreau’s motivation is not to become the first openly gay player in the N.F.L. It is simply to play in the N.F.L.

“I’m a kicker that happens to be gay,” Gendreau said Tuesday. “It’s a part of who I am, and not everything I am. I just want to be known as a normal kicker.”

Gendreau’s story was detailed in a substantial feature and video released Tuesday by Outsports, a Web site devoted to the intersection of gays and sports. Cyd Zeigler, a co-founder of Outsports who wrote the story, said Gendreau was not looking for a spot in history.

“His goal is not to be the first,” Zeigler said. “His goal is to be who he is.”

– “A Potential Pioneer, Just Looking For A Job,” The New York Times, April 23, 2013